I was invited along with a fabulous group of bloggers and media to attend the ESPN Wide World of Sports Media Event. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We all know that any trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a magical time whether you are hitting the parks with friends or family. There is so much to see, do and eat. Many visitors might not be aware of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This complex is made for sports fanatics, players, families and all those who want to feel like the VIP they have been dreaming of becoming.
For many who are playing youth sports coming to play at Walt Disney World is a dream come true. They are being treated like all-stars from the moment they arrive. What better place to show off their skills than playing in state of the art facilities. It’s no wonder that many championships and tournament are calling the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex home for the events. Players and their families travel all over the world to compete. Just like every Super Bowl champion you can say that great phrase “I’m Going to DIsney World”!
The entire venue is home to Champion Stadium, The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, HP Field House, Visa Athletic Center, Baseball Quadraplex, Softball Complex, Tennis Complex, Track & Field Complex, including cross country, covered training facility, Production Center and Welcome Center.
Here is a breakdown of some of the facilities that we visited. You have to check it out yourself to understand how huge this place is.
The centerpiece of the sports complex, Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, is a retro-style Major League Baseball ballpark that annually hosts MLB spring training (Atlanta Braves) and numerous amateur tournaments. With permanent seating and existing infrastructure, the facility can also host concerts, corporate hospitality functions, event opening ceremonies and other large gatherings.
While at the event we were invited to the opening ceremonies for the Disney Cup International. With teams from more than 20 countries, this event allows each team the opportunity to compete at world-class facilities. It was amazing to hear the crowds cheer for each team. Families have traveled along to see their children play. This event has been happening for 17 years and continues to be a highlight of the summer.
Everyone is so excited for the games to kick off.
Four luxury suites (all include indoor and outdoor seating areas), plus an additional suite that features a large conference room; two upper-level outdoor suites; and two mezzanine-level outdoor terraces.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse only hang out in the cool spots, that is, of course, the luxury suite. We were lucky enough to get a great photo opp where you can only find them wearing their soccer gear at the sports complex. Adding this pic to my collection!
There is a display booth equipped with state-of-the-art production equipment for managing in-stadium entertainment, including a 33′ 7″ wide by 21’7″ high jumbo screen which can display ESPN programming, customized videos, daily highlight reels and interviews from the sports complex.
We were all allowed the chance to be an anchor for the day and get to see what it was like to be in front of the camera. For many of us,we are used to being behind the scenes taking the photos and video content. I like the idea of being on the big screen.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Production Center
With more than 1,100 hours of unique content in 2018, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Production Center has become the epicenter of youth sports broadcast around the globe and is the leading producer of ESPN3 content. The Production Center is a 3,200-square foot, next-generation facility with two full control rooms, six edit bays, 24 channels of replay and 8k camera systems, along with worldwide distribution for broadcast and social media partners.
It features 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 handheld and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens that can capture and display footage, event highlights, and interviews that will broadcast throughout the complex and on various Disney and ESPN platforms.
Here we are learning about how each segment is put together for the newscasters.
HP Field House
The 50,000-square-foot multi-sport indoor arena includes high arches and trusses and other architectural and design elements reminiscent of a classic 1950s style fieldhouse (capacity: 5,500). This multi-purpose facility can accommodate virtually any indoor sport that does not require ice, including basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, martial arts, team handball, roller hockey, cheerleading and dance, trampoline and tumbling, indoor tennis, etc., in addition to concerts and conventions.
The fieldhouse has room for six full-size collegiate basketball courts (four on the main level and two upstairs on an auxiliary court).
ESPN Wide World of Sports opened a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue in January 2018 that seats 8,000 guests and is one of the only arenas in the country specifically designed for cheer and dance events. The facility also has the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations.
For cheer and dance events, The Arena can accommodate performance and warm-up space and includes a flexible design for one large competition space that can be converted to host as many as four competition areas. Additional areas can be tailored for warm up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials.
We had surprise guests greet us on our tour. How excited were we when we learned we could shoot some hoops with Nick Anderson former NBA Orlando Magic Guard/ Forward and of course Goofy.
The Visa Athletic Center
A multi-sport fieldhouse, The Visa Athletic Center includes space for six basketball courts, 12 regulation-size volleyball courts, two roller hockey rinks, four locker rooms, two conference rooms and two officials’ rooms.
Can you believe how many activities are happening at once? Each area that we passed was occupied and being used by teams. It is amazing that these facilities are able to accommodate everyone.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill
An enlarged, sports-themed, casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating located across from Champion Stadium. The restaurant contains a full bar and menu items include burgers, pizza, signature sandwiches, and salads, along with a variety of desserts and beverages. The Grill also includes high-definition TV screens, live radio remote capabilities and a SportsCenter desk, located inside the ESPN broadcast studio.
Inbetween a game grab a bite or watch another sport on the many screens.
Retail facilities: Three sports-themed merchandise locations reside at the sports complex, while customized merchandise vehicles are located throughout the other venues during individual events.
The Welcome Center provides assistance to sports complex guests during their visit to Walt Disney World Resort, including planning for theme park visits, dining and golf reservations.
Have you ever watched a sporting event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex?